President of Malta
The crucial importance of equality may be obvious to those of us who are doing what we can to make positive changes in the world. But the reality in many countries around the globe is not so encouraging. Women, girls and gender minorities in particular continue to face challenges, especially in terms of access to health, education, and economic opportunity. The recent successful launch of the Commonwealth Youth Gender and Equality Network marks an important step forward towards meeting these challenges.
It is an unfortunate fact that Commonwealth member states attract their fair share of criticism when it comes to equality. In the run-up to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014, there was much debate on the credentials of member states and their position on the rights of people of diverse sexual orientation, gender identities, gender expression and sex characteristics. The disturbing statistic came to the fore that an estimated four out of five Commonwealth countries criminalise homosexuality, and there was increased pressure for the Commonwealth to do more to support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities and others who represent the many facets of gender and sexuality. We must do what we can to ensure that citizens are not discriminated against, no matter the place of their birth...
*Statistics within article correct at original publication date of CHOGM 2015 Report.